Review – We have hosted two successful painting holidays in Japan. March 2018 and April 2019.
This year we spent 16 days in Japan.…..
It couldn’t have been better. ….
We sketched and painted as we visited all the different places on our itinerary. We sat in a the Hamarikyu gardens in Tokyo and painted a tea house on a lake, while sitting under beautifully manicured trees, oblivious of the bustle around us, reminded only of being in this metropolis by the huge skyscrapers looming above the trees. We added studio days to allow further painting and development of sketches and painting experiences in a quiet and spacious environment inspired by the temples and monuments that showed off the best of Japanese culture.
We visited Mt Fiji and stayed in Hakone Staying in a Ryoken, sleeping on a titame mats and bathed in the natural hot springs. Mt Fuji has always been very obliging and has been visible all day on both occasions we visited.
We worked with a very experienced Australian tour company based in Kyoto they provided all our accommodation and made our travel arrangements. We had an English speaking Japanese guide 24/7. We stayed in good hotels, travelled by train, the famous bullet train, buses, tubes, taxis, boats, cable cars, this met all of our travel needs. We went to wonderful restaurants, where we experienced a fabulous range of Japanese cuisine each evening.
We worked with the tour company to customise our trip to suit the needs of a group o& painters. We suggested the places to visit and with them put together a dynamic itinerary. We specified that wanted to visit The best of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. We also added a few day trips to see Mt Fuji, Hiroshima, the island of Myajimia, A trip to Hemeji Castle and finally Nara.
It was an amazing experience on many levels, sight seeing as a tourist and sketching and painting as artists. The challenge was to capture the best bits of Japan with teaching and demos along the way. It was such a cultural contrast, so different from our Western society. We found it a very safe environment, and the people very polite and helpful.
We sat in the sunshine and painted Mt Fuji in her full glory on the banks of lake Kawaguchiko. We finished off such a special day by visiting Itchiku Kobotas Kimono museum and being blown away by his skill and devotion to such a beautiful craft. Mouth watering hand painted, embroidered and dyed kimonos that were works of art in themselves.
We also had time to visit the National gallery, the Museum of Modern art, and the Hokusai museum.
We took part in the famous Tea Ceremony, had a Japanese’s writing lesson, and learnt how to print a wood cut just like Hokusai.
Arashiyama Bamboo forest in Kyoto took our breath away, we stood and painted the 60ft trees as many visitors walked by all in awe of its beauty. We sat and painted the turquoise river with boats of tourists bustling along, enjoying the view.
Fushimi Inari – Taisha forest was also a phenomenon, so unusual, hundreds of Tori gate arches sprawling through the forest, we had never seen anything like this before. We also explored the shrines and tombs Where statues of foxes wearing neckerchiefs were said to protect children in the afterlife.
We went Geisha, Geiko and Miko spotting in the Kyoto streets. The beautiful ladies power walked along to their appointments, showing off their stunning attire.
Our short visit to Kinkaju ji the temple of the Golden Pheonix was worth every minute, a stunning building in beautiful grounds.
Each shrine or temple had a prayerbook for sale, and you could buy a written prayer, drawn on the spot by the monks, from each shrine to fill your book, several guests used these books to sketch the temples and the beautiful sights.
Painters sketched, painted and took photographs and wrote while on the tour. Many commented on what good value the trip was. Our guide was very attentive and flexible, she often change our itinerary to suit our needs. The tour was a private tour and it was very flexible.